janet smarttAs part of our Green MBA Success Series, I am interviewing Green MBA graduates to uncover what steps they took to transition to green careers using their degrees. Meet Janet Smartt, Program Manager, StopWaste.Org, the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and the Alameda County Source Reduction and Recycling Board. Read our interview with Janet, in which she shares her story of how she used her green MBA to evolve her career from a career in corporate marketing and public outreach to one in sustainability program management. Don’t forget to check out our entire Green MBA Success Series and our Green MBA Directory.

by Tracey de Morsella, Green Economy Post. Follow her on Twiiter @greeneconpost

Name: Janet Smartt

Company: StopWaste.org

Title: Program Manager

Q. What are the responsibilities of your job?

A. As a program manager for the business assistance team of StopWaste.Org.  I’m responsible for marketing and program management. I work with a small team who markets our programs to the medium and large businesses in Alameda County, and we also manage the programs by supporting our clients’ waste reduction and/or prevention initiatives. My day could include any number of responsibilities – from writing web content, co-creating outreach strategies, following-up with clients who’ve applied for grant funding or have requested help finding a vendor who will help them recycle those “hard to recycle” materials, or speaking at community industry events.

Q.  What do you enjoy most about your job?

A. I truly enjoy empowering companies and other organizations to make improvements in their materials management and environmental impact via reducing and  preventing waste. I also enjoy promoting companies that are doing an exceptional job via our agency’s awards and advertising.

Q. Green MBA Program Attended/Year Completed:

A. Presidio Graduate School, 2009, MBA in Sustainable Management

Q. What, if any additional certifications, training, degrees do you have that have helped you in your obtaining a position in the sustainability/green sector?

A. My training in Community Based Social Marketing (CBSM) has been incredible valuable, and my background in both corporate marketing and public outreach has been helpful for business success in general.

Note From the Editor: In 2007 and 2008 Janet was a Program Outreach and Communications Manager for Keep the Delta Clean. While she was there, she co-created the marketing strategy and implementation of 1.6 million dollar public education campaign for clean water. This involved managing the development and distribution of multiple print materials, website, and give-aways; training and managing volunteers; and facilitated stakeholder engagement across government agencies and businesses. Janet teamed up to educate boaters about safe and environmentally friendly boating while improving access to pollution prevention services at marinas throughout the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Q. Why did you decide to make a career change into sustainability?

A. I wanted to do something that I cared about – something that “gave back.” I have always cared about human health, and more and more I appreciate healthy people are supported by a healthy environment. I also feel that we are stewards, and that it is our great task to care for the health of our planet for future generations.

Q. What steps did you take that were the most effective in helping you make the transition to a career in sustainability?

A. Going back to school for my MBA in Sustainable Management was key. I would not have made such a successful transition without the skills, knowledge and network of my graduate program at Presidio Graduate School. While in the program I took advantage of networking events, firm nights, and the career development services. I also had the opportunity to work on real-world projects, such as a recycling and waste prevention plan for Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s five retail store chains. Having MBA credentials was likely helpful for my career transition, but the project experience was what pushed my resume to the top with my current employer.

Note from Editor: While attending Presidio, Janet  worked on a number of projects that enabled her to showcase expertise in sales and marketing, while at the same time use her newly aquired sustainability knowledge.  As a marketing strategist for Xtracycle, a cargo bicycle manufacturer, she identified most profitable customer segments, pain points, and demographics; analyzed the competitive space; made recommendations for smart spending on sponsorship, events and media; and  co-created a communications and competitive strategy.

During that time, Janet also worked as a marketing consultant for Powergetics, an intelligent energy storage start-up.  Her responsibilities included researching and reporting on top lead opportunities to prepare for first customer conference. She also created web site copy and online information design.   As a communications consultant for the Natural Capital Institute Janet implemented CRM system (Salesforce), researched and reported on collaborative and competitive landscapes, and co-created marketing strategy and target market surveys.

Q. What are your long term career goals?

A. To continue to positively influence the way business and community leaders “choose and use” in our professional and personal lives.

Q. Please share any additional thoughts that you feel might be helpful to someone seeking to make this type of career transition.

A. If you are considering going back to school for education in sustainable principles and practices, my experience was that the investment was worth the time and money. Not only was I able to change careers, I also gained a network of friends and colleagues that will last a lifetime.

Join us each month as we introduce to sustainability professionals who used a green MBA to make a green career transition.  If you have a green MBA, have successfully transitioned into a career in sustainability, and would like us to spotlight you in the Green MBA Success Series, or if you know someone you think we should spotlight, drop me a line. Don’t forget to check out our entire Green MBA Success Series and our Green MBA Directory.

Note: The Green MBA Success Series was inspired by Interview Series: Transition to a Clean / Green Career by Jennifer Massie of the Massie Group.  Thanks Jen!

Walden University Online MBA Concentration in Sustainable Futures.Walden University Online MBA Concentration in Sustainable Futures. Students will develop the skills to manage large-scale change that adds value, contributes to a sustainable future, and responds to the needs of both organizations and society. Students will also explore ways to understand and improve relationships among individuals, organizations, and communities. This program teaches how to incorporate global awareness into planning, operations, and decision-making at all levels of an organization. Graduates will be able to develop innovative social responsibility practices as they help organizations respond in sustainable ways to their communities and the world. Click here, for more information about the Walden University Online MBA Concentration in Sustainable Futures.

© 2011, Tracey de Morsella. All rights reserved. Do not republish.

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Author: Tracey de Morsella (323 Articles)

Tracey de Morsella started her career working as an editor for US Technology Magazine. She used that experience to launch Delaware Valley Network, a publication for professionals in the Greater Philadelphia area. Years later, she used the contacts and resources she acquired to work in executive search specializing in technical and diversity recruitment. She has conducted recruitment training seminars for Wachovia Bank, the Department of Interior and the US Postal Service. During this time, she also created a diversity portal called The Multicultural Advantage and published the Diversity Recruitment Advertising Toolkit, a directory of recruiting resources for human resources professionals. Her career and recruitment articles have appeared in numerous publications and web portals including Woman Engineer Magazine, Monster.com, About.com Job Search Channel, Workplace Diversity Magazine, Society for Human Resource Management web site, NSBE Engineering Magazine, HR.com, and Human Resource Consultants Association Newsletter. Her work with technology professionals drew her to pursuing training and work in web development, which led to a stint at Merrill Lynch as an Intranet Manager. In March, she decided to combine her technical and career management expertise with her passion for the environment, and with her husband, launched The Green Economy Post, a blog providing green career information and covering the impact of the environment, sustainable building, cleantech and renewable energy on the US economy. Her sustainability articles have appeared on Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, Chem.Info,FastCompany and CleanTechies.